De Mijn

Eye Witness

POW in the Dutch Indies and Japan

Written by Ton Verstraaten


Exhibition at Bronbeek

The Museum

The East Indies Memorial Center Bronbeek, located at the Bronbeek estate in Arnhem where, in addition to the recently established East Indies Memorial Center, the Bronbeek Museum has been located since 1863, is considered to be a lieu de mémoire for Dutch with an East Indies background.

Personal Belongings

In the museum a special place have been created for the memories of my father Ton Verstraaten. Some of his personal belongings of the POW period are being presented.

Glass Display Case

Besides some belonging of my father the display case reads the following text:

Ton Verstraaten (1917-2005) was made prioner of war in 1942. After spending time in several camps in Jave, in 1943 he was taken to Singapore in the hold of the Maibashi Maru along with 1000 other prisoners of war. From there they were taken to Fukuoka in Japan. During the voyage the men were tormented by hunger and disease.

Upon arrival everyon was given a number and the Japanese called them by their numbers. Verstraaten had to work in the coal mine of Orio, Fukuoka 6. The work was very strenuous and the prisoners were treated badly. Every tenth day was Yasume (rest) day.


In 2011 I have visited the Memorial and Museum with some friends. During that day Geertje Besselink guided us through the museum in a "special tour" sharing with us all kind of interesting information. Just click on this link to see the photographs taken and watch the expressions on our faces.


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Photograph of the Glass Display Case